Reading Pride and Prejudice

This course is now finished. You can find an extract from Fred Parker's lecture on our Blog page.

Saturday 29 April 2017, 2.00 pm to 6.00 pm
Price: £60.00 / £50.00 students, Cambridge alumni and members of the Jane Austen Society; includes tea or coffee.

An intensive study day on Jane Austen’s much-loved novel, Pride and Prejudice (1813) with lectures by leading Cambridge scholars Fred Parker and Anne Toner, and a dramatic reading by accomplished student reader, Anna Moody.


Fred Parker, Disclosing and declaring love in Pride and Prejudice.

Pride and Prejudice is a novel about love and about marriage proposals; about how one speaks, and speaks out, in the early nineteenth century. Fred Parker will explore the difficulty of communicating one’s feelings in a culture where all exchanges in public – especially between men and women – are understood to be coded and convention-based. Is it possible to be polite and sincere? It’s a question that also bears on the playful indirectness of Austen’s own narrative voice.

Anne Toner, Jane Austen's dialogues: drama and innovation.

Anne Toner will discuss Jane Austen’s celebrated dialogue. She will examine what is innovative about Austen’s dialogue and what readers have loved about it. She will explore its relation to drama, and how Austen’s innovations in dialogue relate to her developments in depicting consciousness.

Anna Moody, readings from Pride and Prejudice.

VenueStapleford Granary is an old granary renovated into a fantastic venue for lectures and concerts. It is 5 miles from the centre of Cambridge, easy to reach by bike, bus, or car. Shelford station is close by (20 minutes' walk) with train connections to London and central Cambridge. More information about the venue here.

Pride and Prejudice image.jpg

Suggested reading

The only essential reading is Jane Austen, Pride and Prejudice (1813). Any good edition. We recommend OUP or Penguin for reliable texts and high quality annotations and introductions. CUP publishes expensive but excellent scholarly editions of the novels.

Optional further reading:
You may wish to explore some of these related works before the study day or afterwards:
Jane Austen, Emma (1815)
Jane Austen, Mansfield Park (1814)
Roger Gard, Jane Austen’s Novels: The Art of Clarity (Yale University Press, 1994)
John Mullan, What Matters in Jane Austen? (Bloomsbury, 2012)
Tony Tanner, Jane Austen (Macmillan, 1986; 2007)
Janet Todd, ed., The Cambridge Companion to Pride and Prejudice (CUP, 2013)
Claire Tomalin, Jane Austen: A Life (Penguin, 2012)
John Wiltshire, The Hidden Jane Austen (CUP, 2014)

Jane Austen Society has a reliable chronology and details of the novels: here.

Anne.Toner book.jpg

Anne Toner

Anne Toner is a Fellow in English at Trinity College, Cambridge. Her publications include Ellipsis in English Literature: Signs of Omission and articles on Jane Austen. She is currently completing a book on aspects of Jane Austen’s style.

Fred Parker.jpg

Fred Parker

Fred Parker is Senior Lecturer in English and a Fellow of Clare College, Cambridge. He works mainly on literature between Milton and Byron (1660-1830) and on its connections with moral philosophy. His most recent book, The Devil as Muse, looked at the Devil as literary inspiration for Blake and Byron; he is currently thinking about the process of getting engaged (or seduced) in the novels of the period. Jane Austen is one of his special interests.